Professional Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers
Project manager interview questions and answers. The hiring manager will conduct an interview to ascertain whether your management style and experience are a suitable fit for the role. Your interview responses should highlight your leadership abilities and related experience. In this post, we'll discuss common project management interview questions and how to respond to them.
Interview questions for project managers (with example answers)
Consider the following frequent interview questions for project managers, along with samples of how you can respond. When preparing for your interview, consider a few possible scenarios for the kind of questions you can be asked based on your sector.
Related: Job interview questions
1. What is the most critical function of a project manager?
This is a question in which you can demonstrate your project management understanding. Consider where you spend most of your time and some of your primary duties.
Example: "I've discovered that communication is a critical component of this profession." Complex projects often have a large number of moving pieces, each of which contributes to a different aspect of the aim. To enable everyone to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively, it is critical that we be all on the same page. Additionally, it is critical to convey the project's progress to clients and other key stakeholders. At the end of the day, communication is what ensures that a project runs successfully."
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2. Have you ever worked on a project that was late or over budget?
Missing a deadline or exceeding a budget are two frequent concerns that project managers face. Here, you can demonstrate your approach to project setbacks. You can answer this question using the STAR method:
- Situation: Explain the situation in a good, constructive manner.
- Assignment: Describe your part in the scenario.
- Action: Describe how you resolved or addressed the matter.
- Result: Describe how your solution had a beneficial effect.
The STAR method enables you to articulate a real-world predicament and the steps you took to overcome it.
Example: "I was working with a customer on a project, and they desired to add a feature to their bespoke program that would cause them to exceed the time allotted. As a project manager, I had to decide whether to implement this feature and risk missing our deadline or to spend less time on another aspect of the project.
I met with my team to determine the time required to install the functionality. After providing the customer with a comprehensive response, I provided them with their alternatives. They determined that they would accept a postponement of the feature's deadline. We ended up delivering the completed product a month later than expected, but the client was satisfied."
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3. How would you describe your normal relationship with your project's partner?
Individuals who are personally accountable for the success of a project are called project sponsors. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to keep your sponsor informed of any concerns that can impede or prevent the project's success. Your response should detail how frequently you communicate with your sponsor and why. To address this question, consider your relationships with and communication with project sponsors.
Example: "Because I feel communication is the most critical aspect of my job, I make every effort to keep my sponsor informed." I make an effort to meet with a project sponsor regularly to offer updates. I will notify them if an event occurs outside of this meeting that demands their involvement. Additionally, the connection is dependent on the sponsor. Occasionally, I work with sponsors who are overworked and uninvolved. Others take pleasure in contributing ideas and actually assisting the effort.
Naturally, this also relies on the nature of the project. Sponsors of major, multi-year projects place a high premium on the process. If I'm working on a smaller project, I can prefer the sponsor to be there solely during client meetings or if I run into any big challenges."
Related: Phone interview tips
4. Which of your projects was the most successful?
This question allows you to demonstrate that you are aware of the processes necessary to achieve success. Consider your most successful endeavor and the reasons behind its success. Utilize the STAR approach to provide a concise overview of the project from beginning to end.
Example: "My most successful project was developing an adviser portal for our client to manage their clients' assets." I held an internal kickoff meeting during which I collaborated with my team to set a fair timetable, budget, and comprehensive plan for completing the gateway. Following that, we met with the customer.
This is when we encountered a slight snag. Our customer was dissatisfied with our first timeframe. They desired the site three weeks sooner than we suggested. I mentioned that in order to do it sooner, we would need to raise the budget to allow for the employment of additional resources. They were first apprehensive but eventually agreed to a minor budget increase.
Following that, I had daily standup meetings with my team and weekly status calls with the customer to provide updates and verify the deliverable looked and functioned as planned. We completed the portal on schedule and within budget. The customer was so delighted with the intuitive design and functionality that they requested that we also construct phone and tablet applications. Constant communication and management of expectations throughout the project were critical to success."
Related: Preparing for an interview
5. Which project management tools do you employ?
Each business will utilize a unique collection of project management tools. Explanation of the tools you utilized demonstrates your software experience, particularly if you have significant technical abilities with a particular platform. Verify that the job description provides information about the tools they use and that you have relevant expertise with them. If not, discuss your familiarity with the programs and your enthusiasm to learn.
Example: "In the past, I generally used Microsoft Project, but my previous employer utilized Basecamp, which was excellent for team collaboration. Each stakeholder was allowed to contribute ideas to the online board and vote on the ones that were most appropriate for resolving the issue or challenge at hand. Additionally, I utilize Trello/Jira to track the team's time and allocate projects."
6. What escalation mechanisms do you employ?
Escalation is the process through which you address a project issue as it emerges. Your response should exhibit your ability to think critically and solve problems. You might respond by describing a particular instance when you faced difficulty while working on a project and how you resolved it.
Example: "If I have the resources, knowledge, and time to work with my immediate team to address a problem, it is my first line of action." If I believe the problem is sensitive, requires high-level permission, or I just desire extra feedback on my chosen course of action, it is critical for me to collaborate with my sponsor to resolve it. Whatever the situation, I believe it is always beneficial for the team and my own personal growth to exhaust all available resources before bringing in others.
I have worked on a project where the sales team made a promise to the customer that our application could not deliver. Eventually, I was forced to involve the project's sponsor. She concurred that delivering the feature was impossible.
It was a challenging talk with the customer, but we were able to achieve an agreement. We've begun developing a method for supporting the functionality and will make it available to the client for free once it's complete."
7. How do you handle your projects?
Companies employ a variety of project management approaches, including Scrum and Waterfall, depending on the nature of the project. Your personality will dictate how well you suit the company's present tactics. You should discuss the style you employ or whether you employ a number of styles based on the assignment.
Example: "Because I've spent most of my career in the software sector, I've discovered that the Agile technique works well for my projects." I can use Agile to shorten delivery cycles, allowing the client to observe my team's work and provide constructive criticism. It fosters a more collaborative atmosphere in which I can collaborate with my team to develop goals based on their comments.
I've also studied the Lean technique independently and attempted to incorporate some of its principles into my own style. I strive to avoid time and financial waste on all of my projects and am constantly looking for ways to enhance the process."
8. What are your procedures for dealing with "scope creep"?
A critical aspect of project management is ensuring that the project stays within the established budget and timeline. Scope creep refers to any change in the scope of the project that might result in you missing your deadlines. Your response will provide insight into how you manage resources and overcome hurdles. You can offer an example of how you managed scope creep in one of your projects to demonstrate your ability to do so.
Example: "Scope creep is something I keep an eye out for on a regular basis." I once worked on a large project that required the development of a whole website, as well as applications that would run on all major phone and tablet operating systems. We had a year to complete everything, and it was a multimillion-dollar project.
I chose to divide the project into manageable chunks that we could work on month by month. As we reached the start of a new month, I planned weeks ahead based on customer response to what we had already given to them. The project was continuously evolving in response to demands and criticism, and it might easily have gone much beyond budget and schedule. We were able to finish a project in 12 months by adhering to stringent time management and communication."
9. How do you resolve team disagreements?
Managing a team effectively is a critical aspect of project management. You must guarantee that your team is capable of collaborating in order to offer a product or service. Consider responding to this question with an example of how you resolved a problem successfully.
Example: "I always urge my colleagues to address problems amicably first." Allowing my team to resolve issues collaboratively helps them strengthen their ties and enhances their communication. Occasionally, I need to intercede.
I previously oversaw a team that was having difficulty deciding on a solution to a problem. I convened a meeting with the three of us and we spent around 30 minutes discussing the ideas and their implications for the project. Ultimately, we chose the business analyst's option since it required the least amount of time and money. When settling disagreements, it is critical to communicate and attentively listen."
10. How do you deal with those who aren't performing, on your team?
If a team is having difficulty, the project manager's role is to assist. This question allows you to showcase your management and leadership abilities. You can demonstrate your dedication to the team's success.
Example: "At one point, my integration developer was having difficulty pulling data from a customer website. I attempted to allow him time to come up with a solution, but we finally fell behind on deadlines. I booked a meeting with him to explain the situation. Due of my inexperience as a developer, I invited one of our senior integration developers to join us. Rather of performing the task herself, the senior member assisted my developer in devising a strategy for extracting the data so he could become familiar with the procedure. He eventually completed the work the next day and never had any further troubles with it."
11. How was your most recent project?
Your most recent project will demonstrate your progress as a project manager. You can discuss any obstacles or accomplishments you have encountered.
Example: "Overall, my previous project was a success in that the customer was pleased with the end result, however we encountered a snag. One of my key team members became ill unexpectedly and was forced to take a lengthy leave of absence, nearly causing us to miss our deadline. I learnt that I should always have a contingency plan in place that involves reassigning duties to team members who are unable to finish them in order to ensure the project is completed on time and in full."
Common questions from project management job seekers.
What makes a good project manager?
Ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a critical talent to have while leading any project or team. Project leaders must be able to explain their views and the project's objective in a way that everyone can readily comprehend.
What project management software should I mention I use?
Jira and Trello are two great pieces of software for anyone in the project management position. Use of Microsoft Office is another tool that you could use if in construction project management.
What should I answer to, "What's your preferred project management methodology?"
Always answer with agile methodology.
What leadership skills should project managers have?
In general, an employer needs to know you can lead a successful project to completion. And rally the project team around a unified goal.
Here are the key skills to do that:
- Excellent interpersonal and communication abilities.
- The capacity to communicate a compelling vision and inspire others.
- Positivity and zeal.
- A cool, collected demeanor.
- Solver of problems.
- Builder of teams.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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